Judge orders release of Open Arms ship (3)

NGO vessel put under sequester after landing in March

(ANSA) - Ragusa, April 16 - A preliminary investigations judge in the Sicilian city of Ragusa on Monday ordered the release of a migrant search-and-rescue ship run by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, rejecting a request from local prosecutors for it to stay under sequester.
    The vessel has been berthed in the port of Pozzallo since landing there on March 18 having saved 218 migrants in the southern Mediterranean.
    It was sequestered upon an order by Catania prosecutors in relation to a probe into possible case of aiding illegal migration.
    The ship landed in Pozzallo after the NGO refused to hand the asylum seekers it was carrying over to the Libyan authorities. A Catania judge extended the sequester on March 27 but transferred the case to Ragusa, having rejected allegations of criminal association.